3-29-14 Hodgepodge

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Three Blind Men Describing an Elephant ...

... would do a far superior job than our last three Presidents have of describing Vladimir Putin. I'll let the article speak for itself, although at least Vice President Dick Cheney was on the right track, when he said privately of his impression of the autocrat, "I think K.G.B., K.G.B., K.G.B." Why they have failed so miserably to evaluate this former KGB officer might have something to do with their pragmatism.

In politics, also, pragmatism presents itself as opposed to "rigidity," to "dogma," to "extremes" of any kind (whether capitalist or socialist); it avows that it is relativist, "moderate," "experimental." As in ethics, however, so here: the pragmatist is compelled to employ some kind of standard to evaluate the results of his social experiments, a standard which, given his own self-imposed default, he necessarily absorbs from other, non-pragmatist trend-setters . . . When Dewey wrote, the political principle imported from Germany and proliferating in all directions, was collectivism.
Of all the American politicians mentioned in the article, the only one I recall being demonized as a dogmatist was Cheney -- not that I agree with that charge or am in any way a fan of dogmatism.

Weekend Reading

"[E]ven though you are sure to benefit people all over the world, directly or indirectly, you are mainly pursuing your self-interest." -- Anders Ingemarson, in "Living the Cool Life: Join the Peace Corps or Corporate America?" at The American Thinker

"As someone who cares about this overly self-effacing person, your job is to convey, in words and actions, that, 'You don't have to be this way with me. I want to know what you think. I want to know what you want to do.'" -- Michael Hurd, in "When Bossy/Pushy Meets Self-Effacing" at The Delaware Coast Press

My Two Cents

I agree with Ingemarson that altruism is regarded as "cool" by the young. The problem I hope he helps them see is that that they don't fully appreciate the wrongness and the consequences (including even failing to help others effectively) of practicing that ethical code to its logical end. Most still naively imagine that we can all be altruists and somehow still live in a prosperous society. 

Don't Get "Glassed Out"!

Word Spy has been great fun this week. An entry on "glassed out" (that mentions a related vulgarism) is quite amusing. Also, my new favorite term for Google Glass is buried within: "Segway for your face".



Anonymous said...

Hi Gus

I find it telling that the NY Times neglected this little exchange;

President Obama: "On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space."

President Medvedev: "Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…"

President Obama: "This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility."

President Medvedev: "I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir, and I stand with you."

c. andrew

Gus Van Horn said...

And isn't it interesting what "works" for Barack Obama?